Friday 30 June 2017

Lymm Friday 30 June 2017

Well last night dinner was taken at Dukes92 which lies between the car park we were moored against and the Rochdale canal bottom lock, Again this was a very good choice of venue to eat.

This morning we were woken by the company picking up a Cherry Picker from the car park, I could have done with at least another hour.

After breakfast it was back to the science museum to see the rest of the exhibits, down to the oldest railway station in the country and also to watch the atmospheric engine being run. There were several parties of school kids in and the group, aged about 7-8 who were watching the engine were spell bound by the chap doing the demonstration, he really had the gift and would have done well on one of the old TV programs like "How".

It was lunch time before we returned to the boat so we had a full day there and its Free.

We pushed off a little after 1300hrs heading out of the basin and turning left DSCF8385along the Bridgewater Canal, on the deep water it was obvious that there was something on the prop so we pulled over on the Pomona Lock moorings for a trip down the weed hatch to remove the polythene we had collected. I expect it will be a bit lively in Castlefield tonight as when we left they were doing sound tests for Sounds of the City in Castlefield Bowl.

When we left it was still fine, but the coat would be back on before we moored up for the night. I often wonder what is so special about Throstle Nest that they went to the trouble of painting the name on the bridge other than cyclists clocking 24 MPH down the tow path there.DSCF8387

The next thing of note or not is the stretch through Sale which is about a mile and a half of dead straight canal, as far as the eye can see, the bridge in the photo is not even half way.DSCF8390

We then chugged past the old Linotype works, at first it didn't look much different to last time we passed but there are quite a few houses being constructed to the west of the site. I wonder how long it will be before they do something incorporating the gable ends of the old building that is presently being held up by scaffolding.DSCF8391

The rain started as a fine drizzle and just a few drops of light rain but it wasn't long before a coat was required. We stopped for water at Little Bollington, the tap is just tucked away in a brick box on the off side by The Ye Old Number 3 pub.

We then passed something I have never seen before, there on the towpath was an Oystercatcher with a single chick, my word she was making some lot of noise calling it. DSCF8394

As we came through Lymm we were lucky to find a single space just long enough for us to moor on the offside. This week in the Lymm festival and the place seemed quite busy, but then it was last time we were here in the evening. The place has more than its share of eating establishments.
This time we had dinned at "Flavours" a Turkish restaurant and I must say the service was second to non, really on the ball. We didn't have desert but spoilt our selves by calling in at "Rolandos" for a Gelato on our way back to the boat.

Today's Journey map 1214 Miles in 4¾ hours.

Thursday 29 June 2017

Castlefield Thursday 29 June 2017

Yesterday evening when the rain eased we went for a walk round, the guide books say to look at Store Street Aqueduct from below but I didn't think it anything amazing. We walked down the junction with the Rochdale canal and then up to the New Islington Marina, along the side of the marina back to the Ashton canal and back to the boat. We had not been back long when it started to rain, it was still raining when we left this morning at 1000 hrs. The mooring was very quite for being in a City.DSCF8333

As we approached the top lock of the Rochdale 9 a boat had just come up so the lock was full, as was the next one and emptying the top lock put a lot of water down the flight. After the first lock you are underground for the next two. DSCF8336This area has such a bad reputation for anti social behaviour that this underground section is now closed at night, but boaters can still pass through. The bottom gates have very short beams so a chain winch is provided to pull the gates both open and closed, this happens on some of the other gates as well.DSCF8344

We met 3 boats in the flight, the first complaining of problems getting the gates open, this was probably due to us emptying locks above as the water flows down the flight over the gates so sometimes it is difficult to open them.DSCF8376

The canal passes through the gay area of Manchester with its clubs beside the canal, this has lead to another problem of revellers falling into the canal, to counteract this a glass screen has been erected along the top of the wall between the towpath and the road so they cant fall over, it also means that boaters cant walk from one lock to another and have to make sure their captain doesn't leave without them.DSCF8349

Lots of the canal pounds are underground and more construction work is going on which will put another lock below a new building. DSCF8365The rain finally stopped as we made our way down, but returned about 2 locks from the bottom, by which time my coat was on the boat and I just got wet again.

I don’t know if the Romans had a hand in building the Rochdale canal but these three ruined columns were still standing.DSCF8363

One of the things I spotted alongside one of the locks on the offside was the remains of an old gas street light, It would look quite nice with a lick of paint.DSCF8354

The old lock cottage still stands beside the bottom lock in its own little piece of green land, it seems quite out of place in the modern city.DSCF8384

Once through the last lock it was hard left at Castlefield Junction into the Basin where there were quite a few mooring spaces.

After getting changed into dry clothes again and having lunch we headed off the Manchester Science Museum, needless to say it stopped raining. The Museum is well worth a visit and we will return in the morning to see the rest of it.

Today's Journeymap 11 1½ Miles and 9 locks in 2½ Hrs.

Other photos from the Rochdale 9

     DSCF8359DSCF8373 - Copy
DSCF8383 - Copy DSCF8382 - Copy   DSCF8374 - Copy
 DSCF8372 - Copy DSCF8348
 DSCF8375 - Copy DSCF8362 - Copy DSCF8350
 DSCF8337 DSCF8356 DSCF8343
 DSCF8346 DSCF8340

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Manchester Wednesday 28 June 2017

Well last night it rained, this morning it rained, this afternoon it rained and its still raining now.

We new we had a good day ahead of us so we set off at 0900 hrs a short way behind the hire boat that was moored directly in front of us. As we rounded Dunkinfield Junction there moored ahead of us was the historic wooden butty "Hazel" Hazel is being run as a well-being break for people with mental or physical problems. DSCF8314

By China Bridge we passed an old boat yard, in the yard was an equally old crane looking in fine fettle.DSCF8315 There was also a great deal of railway memorabilia including a railway signal but maybe its not that old.DSCF8316

A little further on under the M6 motorway bridge, which is more like a tunnel, there is even notices saying which end is nearest in case of emergency, we came across this butty moored up to the off side, it looked as if it had a CRT enforcement notice attached to the tiller.DSCF8318

Manchester is the home of cycling and they are very proud of it as can be seen by this footbridge.DSCF8325

A little further down beside one of the locks for some reason the IWA (Inland Waterways Association) have planted a small vegetable garden, I don't know the reasoning behind it but some one has taken a fancy to at least two of the plants in there.DSCF8326

Some of the graffiti on one of the buildings , to me was quite outstanding, I suspect it was done with the owners consent or even planning.DSCF8327

There is some quite outstanding architecture in Manchester, this one is commonly know as the Lego Building but its true name is The Chip.DSCF8329

Almost next door is a building that leans, it really comes home to you when you look at the side door which is not rectangular but leaning as well like the cladding panels. This is the far building in the photo and it leans back to the left.DSCF8330

We needed to find a mooring in Manchester before we tackle the Rochdale 9 locks tomorrow, we passed some moorings on the leftDSCF8331 because we saw this sign, we were unable to read the small print, I wonder how many visiting boats moor there overnight. However on the towpath side about 50 yard on there is room for three boats our size, luckily there were only two there with a nice Harnser sized gap between them.

I was very surprised the state of the Ashton locks, it all looked very clean and trim, CRT have fitted several new gates and most of the lock paddles are hydraulic so easy to draw. All the lock winding gear is fitted with anti vandal locks and they all work. Some of the locks still have the old steps let into the brick work for just aDSCF8322 toe and finger hold, I think I prefer the steel ladders and one of the looks had leaky walls so you had to watch you didn't get a puddle through the slide as you came out.DSCF8320 There was also a couple of the 18 locks which only had one operational paddle but it was far better than when we came down about 20 years ago when you had to have a British Waterways escort because of the vandalism.

Today's Journeymap 10 6¼ Miles and 18 Locks in 5½ Hours with 2 wet feet as well as everything else.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Ashton Tuesday 27 June 2017

And I thought last nights moorings were going to be quiet, just the railway that only seemed to have local traffic and that was behind the hill, wrong.

I got up about half one this morning to pay a visit to the loo and saw bright lights coming along the tow path, at first I thought it was a couple of bikes but then realised it was people walking. They stopped beside the boat moored a short way ahead of us, they stood for a while by the boat, I could see there was 3 of them and one with a back pack so I thought they had returned to their boat, however they stayed on the tow path, one of them looked as if they went to the back doors but then returned to the others so my next thought is they are locked out. I kept watch and not much happened, then one of them started banging on the side of the boat, I opened our front door slightly, you must bear in mind I am stark naked and my cloths are in the back cabin far side of Diana who is asleep. As I listen with the door ajar I can hear a female voice saying "David are you all right, put some cloths on and let us in". As it was now obvious this could be someone in trouble I woke Diana and got some cloths on, put the boat lights on and went outside where I found 3 female Paramedics/Ambulance Technicians trying to get Dave let them in. He had called them saying he needed help and they had spent hours trudging the towpath looking for a boat with no name, now they had found him he wasn't cooperating and they didn't know where they were but had requested police assistance. I was able to give them the post code of the nearest road access, still a ¼ mile away. I stuck around until a police man turned up, he went into the boat to talk to the man. From what I could see from outside the main problem the chap was having was that his Lt. bottle of cider was almost empty. As for the ambulance girls, one said they were 8 hrs into the shift and still not had a break, I offered a mug of tea but by the time it was brewed the police arrived and they were working again. By now it was 2-30 in the morning and we went back to bed, we heard the emergency services leave a little later, whether the chap was with them I don't know, but I doubt it, one of the girls said she had met him before.

This morning it was raining and we set off at our normal 1000hrs, passing the boat in front in daylight it looked quite smart and tidy, not what I expected from last nights activities. We were to meet lots of boats today, a hire boat, then a day boat topped off with a Charity trip boat.

Passing Romiley visitor moorings mooring there is the remains of a sunken burnt out cruiser well out into the channel, its a bit like an iceberg with the majority of it being hidden from view underwater. You can see what the weather is like. DSCF8305

There is quite a bit of old industrial heritage left beside the canal DSCF8307in this area, but how long before these buildings are replaced by another housing estate.DSCF8310

We moored for the night just before Portland basin were I found just two rings, all I needed to moor to, needless to say as soon as we had tied up the rain stopped and the sun started to shine. After lunch we wondered over to the Portland Place museum for a couple of hours before returning to the boat.

Last time we came this way we moored opposite Warble Narrowboats, there are still a few boats moored there and one or two no the bank, but all the buildings have gone for other uses.DSCF8311

Today's Journey map 096½ miles 2½ hours with no locks.

Monday 26 June 2017

Romiley Monday 26 June 2017

Bugsworth Basin was not as idyllic as I expected, the noise from the dual carriage way A6 that completely cut Buxworth in half runs right beside the Middle and upper basins. I got up during the night and there were 3 helicopters just over the tree line.

This morning we visited the visitor centre, this is a container but there is a lot of good information in there about the working days of burning lime and carrying stone, so it was 1030 before we set off. At the junction with the Peak Forest canal they were pumping out the sunken cruiser in an attempt to refloat it.DSCF8274 Back in the canal we turned right and retraced our steps back to Marple Junction. We only met 7 boats all day. The first obstacle was one of the two swing bridges by Furness Vail Marina which Diana soon sorted out.DSCF8279

The electric lift bridge was no problem, on our was to the end yesterday it didn't want to release Diana's key, then the manual lift bridge, Diana almost got there with windlass in hand and it started opening for us.There were two chaps there armed with brushes, buckets etc. presumably to scrub and maybe paint it and one of them operated it for us.

This part of the world has the poshest foot path signs I have ever seen, they must have cost thousands.DSCF8281

We stopped for lunch a short way before Marple Junction, there was a nice bit of piling to moor to and I got to at least 3 foot of it before I was hard aground. Just as we were about to leave this flotilla of geese came along the canal behind us.DSCF8282

As we approached Marple Junction a boat went through the bridge towards Macclesfield, good we thought, the locks will be with us, but when we got closer there was a boat at the top lock, just filling the lock to go down. It seems the other boat came from the Macc turned round and was going back. The boat ahead of us was well crewed and were setting ahead, as we also set ahead, ie. the next lock down is filling while the one we are in is emptying we made good progress down the first 4 locks. This lock has a road bridge over its tail so the canal company mounted a roller on the edge of the bridge so that the horse could pull the boat into the lock when going down hill and it is still there. DSCF8285

After lock 13 we met a boat coming the other way, yes it saved us filling lock 12 but it seemed to take for ever, then we met another at lock 9, If there had been any more coming up the flight we would have still been there. This meant the boat ahead of us now had all the locks set ready for them and we never saw them again even though we carried on setting ahead.

One of the locks has some interesting fancy stone work as you approach it from below, lots of landowners insisted on all sortsDSCF8284 of things where the canal crossed their land, some had fancy bridges, others had the canal widened to look like a small lake, so probably this one wanted fancy stone work.

The Marple locks are quite an unusual design, the single top gate has a gate paddle as well as just one ground paddle and they can both be operated from the towpath side of the lock. Below the lock there is a stone foot bridge to reach the offside bottom gate so no walkways on the gates themselves. Both the bottom gates have gate paddles, but at one time there was also a ground paddle on the towpath side.DSCF8290

On most of the stones used in the lock construction you can still see the mason's marks, each stone mason had his own mark which he put on the stone and this was what he got paid by.

DSCF8293 DSCF8294 DSCF8292
DSCF8295 DSCF8297 DSCF8299

There are 16 locks in the flight and some of the bottom paddles are a bit on the stiff side, plus if setting you walk the length of the flight twice. Just below the flight is a very large winding hole that has a couple of mooring rings and we were considering mooring there , but we knew there were some better moorings the other side of the aqueduct so Diana walked ahead to see what space was available and phoned me to say there was loads of room.

CRT have plans to put railings along the off side of the aqueduct just in case someone falls off, nobody has in the last 200 years but someone might just step off their boat as its crossing the aqueduct and then fall of the 3 foot wide piece on the off side. In the mean time while they wait planning consent they have erected these notices.DSCF8300

Parallel with the aqueduct is the railway viaduct, its a bit like Chirk actually and the will probably want railings there next.IMG_0408

A short way past the aqueduct is Rose Hill Tunnel, except like Fenny Tunnel its not a tunnel any more, just a cutting with a high wall to hold the surrounding land back.DSCF8304

Our mooring spot proved to be a bit shallow, but we are not expecting any passing traffic and we are within 3 foot of the bank anyway.

Today's Journeymap 08 8 miles, 16 locks in 6 hours